While officials may deny rumors that two Canadian cities are actively competing to book the same acts for concerts, a recent deal secured by the mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, certainly proves the city is in efforts to book more shows.
Mayor Peter Kelly, who got himself into a bit of hot water last year for offering up the Halifax Commons as a free venue to promoters for large-scale concerts, told the city’s Chronicle Herald he’s called on the services of New York’s Creative Entertainment Group. CEG will apparently work alongside local promoters so the city won’t lose out on bigger shows, which has happened in the past.
"It was in response to the concerns we faced last year [with the bidding war], so we entered into an understanding that they would work with local promoters and try to bring some quality name act or acts here," Kelly said.
However, Moncton, New Brunswick, Mayor Lorne Mitton denied reports of a bidding war, telling the Herald, "We’re not out there competing against anyone. … We’re out there selling our venue, not trying to outdo anybody."
Still, after Halifax lost out to Moncton on a Tim McGraw/Faith Hill concert last summer, and with both cities allegedly competing to host an Eagles concert this year, Kelly said the city had to take a different approach.
"For us, it’s about trying to meet some of the public’s expectations when it comes to concerts, so we need to try some innovative and new and unique ways to do so," he told the Herald.
But Kelly’s take-charge attitude is apparently rubbing some local officials the wrong way – yet again.
Even though the mayor claims the agreement with CEG is informal and hasn’t cost the city a dime, the city already has a deal in place with provincial booking agency Events Halifax.
Some councilors fear that the Mayor’s deal could end up costing more, or lead to confusion that could force the region to lose more concerts in the future.
"Now we have every Tom, Dick and Harry – but not this Harry – involved in this thing and it’s an absolute mess. We have too many cooks in the kitchen and most of them don’t know how to cook," Councilor Harry McInroy told the Herald.
"I think council has to make it absolutely clear that nobody, including the mayor, negotiates on behalf of … council – that it’s Events Halifax or we make some other arrangement."